Can anyone still take the other side in a negotiation (or any other situation, really) seriously if it becomes know that they're trying to pull this parlor trick? Whoever is found out doing this would seem both ridiculous and repellent.
Like a pickup artist.
That's why it's so important to know about these things. Once armed with knowledge, it becomes a parlor trick. If you don't know about the techniques, then you're playing at a disadvantage.
I read the author's previous book on influence and it was rigorously researched with confirmable studies. Well worth reading, since it surveys a wide variety of mind hacks people play on us across 8 or so broad categories. It changed the way I thought about all kinds of situations I routinely encounter.
But were they indeed confirmed? This is the problem that keeps cropping up. Sometimes I wonder if believing in findings from the psychological literature isn't a disadvantage. Knowing about them is good -- you can pick up on the chumps who actually believe them. But believing them?
It's not at all clear to me that uncritical acceptance of these studies is ever a good idea. The response of senior investigators shrilly decrying "methodological terrorism" when their small-sample findings fail to replicate does little to increase confidence in said findings (or, indeed, the field as a whole).
nb. In no way is this confined to psychology. It's just more rampant there, to judge by the foundational manner in which the field has been shaken up. Nobody doubts that PCR works or that iPSCs can be induced, because the experiments to replicate the results are relatively trivial. But the nature of psychological research seems to make such exercises very difficult, to the point that individuals "take it on faith" that an effect is real (as opposed to assuming it's wrong and running a quick experiment to show that the next year or two of their life won't be wasted). Maybe we're just more cynical in bench-based disciplines?
The book is carefully researched and exquisitely footnoted. Can you cite something specific that you have a problem with in the book? I'm curious if you have even read this book or if you just stating a more general concern about people who do me publish research.
Next time I teach (actually the past few as well) I'm not going to bother with a textbook. Go pull these primary research articles, pull the data, and see if the methods were used correctly. The end.
As previously, I've had some surprised looks when students did this with biological data sets. It's not like psychology is some rogue's gallery; it's a widespread problem. Only solution is to verify results before building upon them.
Although the author himself marketed it that way, it's a lot deeper than just "parlor tricks" to get you to buy stuff.
It explains fundamentally why some people may listen to you and others may not (and vice versa). As someone who was always a poor influencer, I always wondered why if I explained something to someone, they would reject it. But if someone else explained it in the same way, they would accept it. The book explains why really well.
Overall, if you do not conform well to societal norms (that includes being a geek), it will explain why your life will be miserable.
It explains why people can be persuaded to do crazy things like committing suicide for a cult (and why others won't do such things).
It also explains the power of reciprocity (as well as its down side). It starts with a simple story: The author was walking down the street when a kid tried to sell him a chocolate bar for $2 for some good cause. The author doesn't like chocolate, and it's too expensive. The kid then says "OK, I'll give it to you for a dollar!" The author, kind of automatically paid him a dollar and took the chocolate. A few minutes later, he wondered why he bought it: He doesn't like chocolate and doesn't care about the cause! The reason was reciprocity: The kid made a concession, and he automatically felt a need to reciprocate.
This is a common tactic in negotiations (and one negotiation training often warns you about), so you could view it as a parlor trick. But it does go deeper.
Many people in my life have gotten upset with me because:
1. They would have a request of me that I do not want to grant.
2. They offer me something for it - something I do not care for.
3. They make concessions on things or offer me more - again for things I do not care for.
4. They then get upset at me that I'm selfish, look how much others are willing to do for me and I don't reciprocate, etc.
But, umm, why should I reciprocate for something that is of no value to me? These people are not trying to manipulate me - this is their true feeling. Humans are hard wired for reciprocity, and when you don't play along, people can get upset.
I once asked a friend to do some exercise with me. He agreed, but when the time came he really didn't want to do it (bad weather). He said "Hey, tell you what: I'll do this for you if you learn skill X" (skill X is something I've been avoiding for years.
To me, learning skill X is a huge investment I did not want to make, and certainly not worth doing just to get him to exercise with me that day. So I decided to release him from his obligation. I declined his offer and said it's OK if he doesn't want to work out with me today.
Over a year later, I discovered that had upset him. From his perspective, he was willing to make a big sacrifice for me (work out with me that day with poor weather), but I was not willing to reciprocate. I had to explain to him: It was a big sacrifice for him, but only a small gain to me (it wasn't too big a deal if he didn't work out with me). Fundamentally, I do not need to reward him for making a big sacrifice, if I do not value it. I released him precisely because I sensed it was a big sacrifice, and did not want him to waste it.
Negotiation training teaches you this: If you want to make concessions, ensure they are meaningful to the other party. And on the flip side, be wary of concessions others make for you - if you do not value them, signal this strongly to the other side.
I may understand this, but most of the world doesn't. They will make concessions that have no value to you, and much of society will expect you to reciprocate. It'll take a lot of zen-fu not to get yourself in these situations.
tldr; Sorry for the lengthy comment. Book worth reading. And oh, I have only read a third of it...
Because surely "be wary of concessions others make for you - if you do not value them, signal this strongly to the other side." is not sufficient advice.
By the time the person has made the concession, they've already struggled, weighed the pros and cons, and decided it was worthwhile to offer a sacrifice.
While I completely agree that you are under no obligation to reciprocate, and should be wary about people trying to maliciously trap you into such an obligation, you also have to be aware that friends and family members will do this to you inadvertently.
Explaining to them that this sacrifice is of no value to you can too easily be misconstrued as "you do not value me". If maintaining the social bond is important to you, then more is needed. I don't know what, though.
Nor do I. I don't recall if the book had any good suggestions. I somewhat doubt it. It's a fairly light, humorous book, even when dealing with serious topics.
This is especially problematic across cultures. I grew up in one culture, but my parents are from a very different culture (and country). We would visit my relatives every year, and my parents constantly chided me for not showing gratitude. I was just a kid, and I kept telling my parents "If X was such a big deal for them, tell them not to do it next time!" I just wouldn't accept that I had to do something awesome when I did not feel I got anything in return (in fact, I often disliked many of the "concessions" people made for me, so it was doubly worse).
Innately I guess I understood the problem without knowing the concepts. Over the years, the signal did get through - my relatives would be told in advance not to spend money buying certain categories of gifts for me (e.g. clothes) because I likely would not use them.
Just like the best pickup artist I met were honest and direct people loving woman, sex and themself. They were artists because they practiced of course, but they practice because they genuinely liked it.
The palor tricks are just what you get when you try to emulate it. And it works if you are very good at faking it or if people are oblivious.
But even if it works, it is very taxing. Faking well something that has a deep emotional root means a big mind dissonance, and people doing that regularly usually become miserable on the long run.
These are not tricks, they are human elements of communication that have been likely honed over millennia.
A good example is the influential properties of touch: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-attraction-doctor/2...
Tell me something, if a naturally-persuasive person uses these techniques (without realizing it) and a naturally-receptive person is influenced by them (without realizing it), is it still a "ridiculous, repellent parlor trick"?
If not, then why does simply knowing about it make it manipulative?
What??? You manipulative bastard!!!
What leads to this difference, and have any studies or persuasion artists tried to detect and account for them?
But before I did I did one last thing. I asked myself, "Wait a minute - if this technique is so good, did the author use it?" I scrolled to the top of the page. This is the throwaway text that I thought I had completely ignored and was totally irrelevant:
>Today and every day we are the targets of salespeople, marketers, advertisers, fundraisers and (heaven knows) politicians trying to persuade us to buy something, do something or think a certain way. And they’re good at it.
When I was reading it I thought it was just throwaway stuff, like obviously you're telling me what I know!
But looking back - don't you think it pre-suaded me that certain people are really, really good at being persuasive? Which then "pre-suaded" me to agree with whatever the article would state about this, without knowing it?
I wonder if you did an A/B study on this article with the above lead sentence, versus an article that cuts out all of the first couple of sentences and just starts with "Research done in the last fifteen years shows that optimal persuasion is achieved through optimal pre-suasion: the practice of arranging for people to agree with a message before they know what’s in it...."
Do you think as many people would agree with the article under those conditions?
I don't! I think the pre-suasion technique of mentioning just how great experts are at persuasion, might have had a lot to do with why I - and likely others in this thread - agree with the article.
This stuff works.
I personally have strong priors against the effectiveness of advertisement and propaganda. I don't think the effects of these things are robust to different behavioural patterns and to increases in public awareness. So I didn't think of the first paragraph as a 'throwaway' bit.
That's generally true. However, that's often the case in salary and pricing negotiations. Unless you have done your research first, you will be influenced by priming.
I bought a house. I'm not good at handy work. I need to hire a handyman to repair a few things. Do you know how difficult it is to get a good estimate on how much repairs should cost?
There's a skill building workshop I want to attend. With these kinds of workshops, you usually attend only once, so you don't have prior experience with costs. What should I pay?
So you seemed to be saying that the author wrote a whole article on how one can be much more persuasive by getting someone to agree to some general statement without actually expressing something particular about it -- without the author actually then doing so. :)
I mean, it would be like reading an article about how "short titles are better" so you agree with all of the points, then as a final check you scroll up to the top of the page and see that the article is titled "How shorter titles increase clickthrough rates, sharing rates, impact score, reading of the full article, and are basically better in every way -- according to research by Facebook." A long article about how short titles are better, but where the article itself doesn't have one.
That would be an example of an article not practicing what it preaches. How about our article? Do you think it does or doesn't "practice what it preaches"?
Does it try to "pre-suade" some measure of agreement? Does it start by talking about general statements, before it gets into its thesis? What do you think?
Nice try, Sadat!
You'll notice the poster let it be (if they noticed my reply). I'd like to see it in action though, so it would be better if they chose to reply so I could get that data point haha. I'll probably forget to start using it soon.
Are there independent replications that actually show the same effect? I recall an attempted replication that produced equal miscalibrations on the upper and lower ends of the distribution, suggesting that the effect was just mean regression.
The paper states that three general categories of tactic are used to "pre-suade" civilians that may be otherwise on the lookout because they think someone may be trying to influence them (in which case cognitive defense mechanisms come into play).
The paper summarizes that a few techniques can be used in an attempt to circumvent active and alert defenses:
1. "affirmation" - attaching your message to something that the target wants to affirm or reaffirm and including your new information along with old information.
2. "resource depletion" - providing so much information or stimulation or messaging that the target is 'exhausted' of trying to resist the message and relaxes into coping with it.
3. "narrative persuasion" - masking the message or information in a story with which the target self-identifies, therein allowing the message to seem like legitimate material to the target.
In my personal experience, being honest and reasonable, sticking to the facts and presenting good arguments have worked better in the long run than any eristic tricks. It depends, though, there are some fields where arguments do not really count and people are fairly irrational anyway, so I don't want to condemn these methods in general. Just as a tendency, it seems better to take other people seriously rather than only as allies or antagonists and as mere means to an end.
Funny that you mention that, because one of the recommended, "ethical" techniques mentioned in Influence is to serve caffeine to make the other party more compliant.
- whether or not the other side is someone you'll want to maintain a longer-term relationship with
- how use of such methods affects your reputation as a negotiator
See also those late night infomercials that pack as many "parlor tricks" as they can into an ad, for a product from a fly-by-night company that you don't even know the name of.
Can you also pre-suade someone and then present an honest and reasonable argument?
Aside of the moral issue of performing a hostile action to limit other side's agency, you should also consider how - if discovered - it will affect your relationship with the other side, as well as your reputation.
At the end of his big bestseller Influence, he goes into a long-winded moralization about how he hopes his work helps people resist the terrible influence of immoral salesmanship... for example by being mindful of the "secret weapons" of Social Proof and Authority and Scarcity.
of course, he writes this in a book (a NATIONAL BESTSELLER as it says on the cover) that is literally covered in testimonials and promotional blurbs from "thought leaders" with credentials, mainstream publications like HBR and Fortune, praising Cialdini, PHD for revealing "little known secrets of Master Influencers" yada yada yada.
Good catch. I did not notice he had written the article.
Well sure, buying the book may show he's a reliable source of information on persuasion.
But, you know, being a very widely cited researcher may show it better. :-) I've encountered references to his work in many places.
I have no idea if it works, but I often try to lead gently into my arguments here. I try not to make too many assumptions about what the reader will think about the prerequisites for my argument, and so go through my assumptions about them and why I believe them, and then present my actual argument. It's my hope this somewhat softens the natural tendency to ignore evidence and claims counter to their own beliefs by presenting supporting evidence they might agree with first. This is a simple concept and one I'm sure many people use, whether they are specifically working around what they see as a deficit of human rationality like me, or just because they think it's effective (if it is!).
What I think is important about this is that it's an example of how we can use our cognitive biases for good. We can pit them against each other to open ourselves up to the more rational sides of our minds. It's important we don't associate all forms of manipulating our minds through presentation negatively through labeling. It's easy to say it's manipulation, and manipulation is bad, but that's just falling prey to another one of our cognitive biases, where we group similar things, and transfer attributes between them, whether they apply or not. It's very important we as a specifies learn from our weaknesses, and try to mitigate them, not just paper over them like they aren't there. I think the future is bleak if we don't.
Every technique, every tool, every idea can used for "good" and "bad". A problem I see is the massively overpowered tendency of the personal gains seekers and market winners and profit hunters to engross and harmfully misuse _everything_ for their gains. It makes me seek to discover how helpful and constructive ideas/techniques are violated (bcos they are only very shallowly understood) and used _against_ people. Quite often I find this has to do we the ethics an area is entertaining. So therapists, social workers f.e. will use those tools differently and in a more constructive way than ppl. in the Biz-World bound only to "Biz-Ethics".
At the other end of the spectrum are these embodied cognition experiments that fall back on "priming" as an explanation. For example, people allegedly walk more slowly after being primed with words related to old age, or view others as being more "warm" if the subject hands them a hot beverage. These typically do not replicate well and tend to fall back on vague, handwavey theories.
To apply research results to negotiation/persuasion scenarios "in the wild" would be intractably difficult because the situations are going to be utterly uncontrolled.
By the same token, I don't think that it's reasonable to dismiss "priming" as a practical business communication tactic just because it isn't easy to perform a repeatable experiment about it.
Anyone know how well this new psychology stuff is surviving the replication crisis in the humanities?
Edit to add: less charitably, it also reminds me of Scott Adams' rambling blog posts about Donald Trump. Adams has persuaded himself that this persuasion stuff is like magic, and applies it to everything he sees. It's the new astrology.
As a snarky rule of thumb, I'd say the likelihood of a study replicating is inversely proportional to the likelihood of a study showing up in a a TED Talk.
If someone claims that you can make people like you more by handing them hot drinks, or radically change their views on a topic with a brief conversation, I'd be skeptical. However, there still are a lot of people doing solid behavioral work that doesn't make a huge splash in the popular press.
I also wouldn't act in a consistent way if I had to fear for my life.
Then the opposite example is used - a queen says "I have a weak body but" and then excites the troops to battle. How is that similar? Its the opposite. They 'explain' it by suggesting the truthfulness of the initial statement establishes the truthfulness of the following statements. Very meta.
This sounds weak. Either 'pre-suasion' works one way or it doesn't? Which is it? I don't think the OP understood what they were saying. In fact, I think they made the whole thing up.
The basic idea is that you shouldn't just jump right into the message you're trying to deliver, but first prime your audience to hear it. There are many ways to do this, not just one.
For a person who's supposed to be convincing me about the right way to convince, they did an awful job.
And sometimes it doesn't require a deflection - if someone asks me about my favorite data structure, it's easy to go on for fifteen minutes about the beauty and utility of either union-find or Voronoi diagrams.
I like Buffet but this kind of mythologizing doesn't help anyone. The report in question was the 2014 report (http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2014ltr.pdf) which is typically released in Feb of the following year (so early 2015). BRK.A underperfomed the S&P500 in the following year.
BRK.A did outperform the S&P500 in 2014, but unless I'm missing something, the author is attributing the performance in 2014 to the reaction to a letter released in early 2015.
If you want the best bang for your buck, Influence has a higher idea/page ratio. It's still a pretty bad ratio — Cialdini isn't the best writer, and the accumulation of anecdotes gets boring quickly, and you can get most of the substance by looking at a couple blog articles about the 6 "weapons of persuasion."
It's important to also note that all of his theories are built on shaky ground, but it's a useful inspiration source of A/B testing ideas if you're revamping a landing page or something similar.
I do wish I could find a good summary of Pre-suasion... maybe I'll have to write one when I am done.
NB: Might not be what you're looking for if you're more interested in the research behind it.
> Here's an example of a fairly good/"actionable" summary
davidivadavid just gave a demo here of "pre-suation" in action. First, suggesting looking at blog articles to find out more substance about the topic, and then later (ph0rque may or may not be colluding with him), he gave a reference to a specific article.
My guideline is pretty simple: Would I be upset if someone used this tactic on me? If so, I shouldn't use it either.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking - The author mentions experiments where people exposed to more agressive or relaxed interactions can react differently and many other situations (similar to the money/cloud backgrounds examples).
How to Win Friends and Influence People - Describes interaction strategies to avoid conflicts and create trust (such as the letter example).
People don't like rasping attempts to change their mind.
The key to selling is that it should never feel like "sales", as the listener understands it.
Many here will argue that Apple's announcements aren't really selling, they're informative, exciting, useful, keep one abreast of the latest, useful to know in the space. etc. That's perfectly executed selling: I'm _not_ being pitched. I'm deciding on my own that this fits my wants and needs.
Oh yeah? How much more likely? And with what confidence interval?
people are always looking for shortcuts and life hacks to get what they want, and I wish it were that easy
Your site seems overall interesting.
"Taylor reports that she knew then, without a single piece of data yet collected, that her experiment would be a success because the rehearsal had already produced the predicted effect—in her."
This is why psychologists are being laughed out of science.